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Reasons why Parliament’s move to restrict the media is so dodgy

Parliament’s decision to limit media coverage of its upcoming November sitting to only 15 agencies is undemocratic and oppressive! The 2021 federal budget is a matter of great national concern that affects all Malaysians, especially when our country is drowning in a third wave of the pandemic.

Here’s why Parliament’s move to restrict the media is so dodgy:

  1. Covid-19 is used as a tool to censure the media
  2. All exclusively online media are left out (Based on the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020, online media remains the major source of news for Malaysians)
  3. Malaysians have the right to know what bills, policies, and measures are debated and passed to counter Covid-19 and save our economy from recession

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has called for this decision to be reviewed immediately, and that the Dewan Rakyat House Select Committee as well as media organizations should be given an opportunity to provide input.

Likewise, Wong Shu Qi, MP for Kluang has stressed that instead of censuring the media, strict Covid-19 SOPs should be set out for all who attend Parliament, regardless of rank or position. She also suggested that Parliament restrict the size of ministers’ entourages.

Describing the move to restrict as atrocious and regressive, Shu Qi has called upon Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun to reverse it.

Similarly, Chiong Yoke Kong, ADUN for Tanah Rata has spoken out against this decision. Condemning PN’s double standards in fighting Covid-19 and calling for accountability, he said that the media plays an important role in keeping a system of checks and balances alive.

Parliament’s business is the people’s business too. Malaysians have every right to be informed via fair media reporting and the media has the right to freedom of press.

Therefore, Parliament is duty-bound to defend these freedoms, not suppress them!

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